Milan 0-0 Barcelona: lots of little battles

March 29, 2012

“Both sides created chances, neither found the net. Max Allegri was without various players, most notably centre-back Thiago Silva. However, Robinho was fit to start upfront. Pep Guardiola named Carles Puyol at left-back, and used Seydou Keita in midfield with Cesc Fabregas only on the bench. A brief summary of the tactical battle? Milan often did well to crowd out Barca’s attacks, but Barca should have stretched them more. There wasn’t a key battle, nor an overall tactical theme – but instead plenty of small areas of interest.” Zonal Marking

Milan frustrates Barcelona in Champions League draw
“AC Milan held Barcelona to an entertaining 0-0 draw on Wednesday in the opening leg of the quarterfinals, the first time in 30 matches and more than two years that the Spanish team had been held scoreless in the Champions League. The last time Barcelona failed to score in the Champions League was in the 0-0 draw with Rubin Kazan in November 2009.” SI

Antonini delighted to deny Barcelona
“A timely tackle from Luca Antonini proved crucial in allowing AC Milan to hold FC Barcelona 0-0 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday, and the Player Rater Top Player told ‘I’m happy and proud about the way I played and we played.'” UEFA (Video)

Champions League goalless draw gives Milan hope for Barcelona leg
“As Massimiliano Allegri pointed out after watching his side hold Barcelona to a goalless draw on Wednesday night, two of the possible results at the Camp Nou next week will see Milan through to the semi-finals of the Champions League. A win would be good, but a draw with goals would do just fine.” Guardian

Milan hold Barca in stalemate
“AC Milan held Barcelona to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the teams’ Champions League quarter-final at the San Siro. Milan should have been ahead just after the kick-off as Robinho found himself in space in the area, but he was unable to keep his close-range volley down.” ESPN

Bayern take big step towards semi-finals

March 29, 2012

“Marseille’s decision to field third-choice goalkeeper Elinton Andrade backfired as his mistake gifted Bayern Munich the opening goal in their Champions League quarter-final. The 32-year-old, preferred to number two Gennaro Bracigliano with first choice Steve Mandanda suspended, allowed Mario Gomez’s shot to squirm under his body in the 44th minute of the first leg at the Stade Velodrome.” ESPN

Kalou secures vital away win for Blues
“Chelsea may not be as good as they used to be but even a makeshift line-up was strong enough to put them in touching distance of the Champions League semi-finals. There was as little to fear from Benfica as Didier Drogba allegedly indicated, the side that helped eliminate Manchester United producing arguably one of the most toothless performances ever witnessed in a quarter-final home leg.” ESPN

Benzema brace puts Real on brink of semis
“Substitute Kaka sparkled and Karim Benzema scored twice as Real Madrid finally broke down Cypriot underdogs APOEL in Nicosia. The Brazil international was introduced in the 63rd minute and set up Benzema for a 74th-minute opener before tucking away fellow sub Marcelo’s excellent cutback eight minutes later.” ESPN

Nándor Hidegkuti

March 29, 2012

“Harry Johnston was an outstanding defender who played nearly twenty years for Blackpool, mostly as a center-back. He was so good that in 1951 the FA named him footballer of the year. He played for his country as well, making his last appearance in 1953, at Wembley, against the upstart Magyars from Hungary, but that would not be a good day for Harry. The problem was Nándor Hidegkuti.” Run of Play

Champions League Retro Diary II: Barcelona-AC Milan

March 29, 2012

“Brian Phillips and Chris Ryan return for the second day of the Champions League quarterfinals first legs. On Wednesday, the guys pulled up their thrones to watch a game between two of the most storied sporting institutions in Europe, Barcelona and A.C. Milan. Here’s what transpired.” Grantland

European Championship Stories: 1996 – A Whole New Ball Game

March 29, 2012

“It almost goes without saying that the near-death – and very much beyond – experiences suffered by English football during the 1980s shaped the game that we watch today. There was a time – a period from the middle to the end of that decade – when the definite feeling that this was a game on its last legs became tangible. Crowds dwindled to somewhere beyond what might have been considered the bare bones, whilst an unhappy trinity of disasters carried both a literal and symbolic loss, with deaths that represented scores of personal tragedies alongside a wider sense of corrosion in what had been the nations number one pastime.” twohundredpercent